RE: placing Accessibility options

I'd like to put in a big plug here for a general concept.  When we put
features such as display size, colors, and even BounceKeys under an icon for
disability (even when it's called "Accessibility") the message is that these
are features for people who are somehow "not right."  As a result, two
things happen.  Many MIS folks feel that they don't need those features on
their computers and remove them.  Although we fought a long, hard battle to
get accessibility part of the default install, I've still done workshops
where those features had been removed from the computers in question.
Second, many people who could benefit from features don't know that they
exist, because they do not identify themselves has having a disability!
These include folks with marginal vision, or low-normal coordination, who
would benefit from having access features turned on, but who don't have a
medical diagnosis.

I'd like to see access features be considered "customization" features.  In
the package, some access feature settings should be broadened a bit: bounce
keys could be made a bit faster, so that it would compensate for keybounce,
for example.  But in general, the idea should be that each user could
customize the performance of his or her browser or other software to match
his or her style of use.

Denis Anson, MS, OTR/L
Computer Access Specialist
Assistant Professor
College Misericordia
301 Lake Street
Dallas, PA 18612
Member of RESNA since 1989
Access to Technology
Anyone, Anywhere!

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of Charles (Chuck) Oppermann
Sent:	Thursday, August 20, 1998 3:56 PM
To:	Bryan Campbell;
Subject:	RE: placing Accessibility options

 Yet the Help menu item seldom has sub-items that change how a
program functions so it isn't too intuitive to have Accessibility settings
there. Also not every applet has Help or Preferences options so naming the
option seems too specific, though those aren't poor places for these
settings. Having Accessibility in the first option is a way to ensure that
the uninitiated (the point J Gunderson notes below) can easily come upon the
settings, & easily toggle them On/Off.

This is a difficult issue, because so many things affect accessibility.
This is one of the reasons we created the Accessibility Wizard for Windows
98.  That wizard asks the users a series of questions and sets options
across the system, including display resolution, mouse pointers, and
accessibility-specific options.

Just taking the browser for example, you have colors and font type settings
- should those be in the Accessibility dialog or in a more general place?
After all, everyone uses those and if they are in a Accessibility dialog,
mainstream users might not find them.  Same is true of the font size.

Our philosophy is this - place accessibility-specific options in a dialog
clearly labeled "Accessibility" and gotten though from the first page of the
Options dialog.

As far as the guidelines go, the recommendation should be something like
"Make accessibility-specific features and options available in a clearly
marked and easily accessible section of the program.  Preferably alongside
general and often used settings."

Charles Oppermann
Program Manager, Active Accessibility, Microsoft Corporation
"A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!"

Received on Monday, 24 August 1998 08:57:33 UTC